Flatpicking Guitar covers Ron Block

The March/April 2006 issue of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine includes an extensive cover story on Ron Block, who serves as both banjoist and guitarist with Alison Krauss & Union Station. The companion audio CD has two tunes that Ron recorded specifically for this issue, and transcriptions of Ron’s solos appear in the magazine.

In the course of the article, Block shares his thoughts and ideas on practice habits, timing, tone, improvisation, and song arrangement. Regarding improvisation:

“Give yourself the freedom to make mistakes. I went through a phase with the band where I would be mad at myself all night if I made a few mistakes during a show. Years later I realized that the fear of making mistakes causes more of them. If you are always afraid of blowing it, you won”t play as freely; you won”t be yourself. Hammering on yourself will do more damage than good; you”ve got to give yourself permission to blow it, and that, to some degree, involves ceasing to take your self-worth and security from music. Get it plugged into the source that doesn”t change. The internal changes I”ve gone through in the past ten years, which I”ve written about on my CD Faraway Land and on my website, have had the side-effect of making me a better player.”

Also featured in this issue are Canadian pickers J.P. Cormier and Marc Roy, an article about McKnight Guitars, and a store visit at Mass Street Music. As always there is plenty of great technique and tab from the regular cast of columnists, plus reviews and news of interest to flatpickers.

Find out more about Flatpicking Guitar Magazine on their web site.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.